Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

NYT video series on Fake News. Worth the watch

I had heard about a video series on NPR’s Fresh Air regarding the origin and current issue with the concept of Fake News via Russia.  You can listen and read the interview of the author, Adam Ellick here. 

There are 3 videos of 15 to 17 minutes each.  The series is titled: Operation Infektion,  Russian Disinformation: From Cold War to Kanye You can watch them here.   It begins with the AID’s hoax that it was a biological weapon developed and released by the US Military and how the KGB planted it and got it to spread such that it was ultimately reported on a US national news broadcast.  This hoax still has it’s believers.

We learned about propaganda from our experience with Nazi Germany.  With the advent of the internet, propaganda has become a more effective and a less costly means of waging war.  Based on the reporting in the last episode of this series the US is vastly behind the curve when it comes to protecting our self from the harm it causes.

This really is an issue as large and significant as any of those most directly effecting us such as health care, climate change, income inequality.  Unfortunately unlike those whose effects are directly experienced, propaganda/fake news has a virtual reality cover.  Which leads to me to the question: What happens as humanity becomes more accustom to experiencing life via virtual reality than naturally?  I suspect we become more susceptible to the intent of propaganda/fake news.

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Balkanization of the Internet: Brazil’s Response to the NSA

“To extricate” Brazil from the reach of the NSA and American technology giants, Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, has proposed doing the following:

constructing submarine cables that do not route through the US, building internet exchange points in Brazil, creating an encrypted email service through the state postal service and having Facebook, Google and other companies store data by Brazilians on servers in Brazil.

To protect its population and its government, all countries may have no choice but to follow Brazil’s lead: control all points of Internet entry and exit, as well as insist that any data stored by any foreign company be under its control.

What Brazil is doing makes perfect sense.  But how can Brazil protect its inter-country communications, if those communications must, of necessity, pass through NSA hands? A giant Brazilian company runs a mine in Sudbury, ONT.  (Sometimes, the relationship between Canadians and Vale, the Brazilian company, are a bit…rocky.  If that relationship becomes too dicey, Canada, which is very cozy with the NSA, may well take a peek at any Vale communications leaving Canada for Brazil. Or maybe a competitor with NSA connections wants to take a peak.)

If the answer is a Brazilian mail carrier, say goodbye to any global mailing system. Microsoft Outlook? Gone.  Google’s Gmail? Gone. Every country will have its own mail carrier.  China will have its mail server.  Russia will have its mail server.  We will have to work out how those hundreds of mail servers communicate. 

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What The Rude Pundit Said

Christopher Dodd ruins his reputation:

Go read about [SOPA and PIPA], if you haven’t, because it’s pretty insidious stuff, not just because of the governmental control, but because of the corporate power behind it….

Former Senator Chris Dodd, now head of the Motion Picture Association of America (motto: “You can only be our leader if you’re a male with a full head of white hair”), issued a statement attacking the websites that are participating in today’s strike/blackout. It says, in part, “It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.”

You got that? The whore who fronts for an industry owned by multinational megacorporations like NewsCorp, Sony, and Viacom is actually attacking BoingBoing.net owners Happy Mutants LLC for using the internet for some evil agenda to steal Chipmunk movies just because they went on a one-day strike. That’s a bit like Ted Bundy accusing a student nurse of having a messy dorm room just before bludgeoning her to death.

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Semi-Tech Interlude: External Wikipedia Links

I mentioned this at Marginal Utility, but agree with rdan that it’s worth mentioning to the (somewhat larger) AngryBear readership.

Kathryn Cramer has done some work with Wikipedia’s External Links tool. The results are interesting, and I suspect the more tech-savvy (or persistent) than I will be able to leverage the work.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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